A conversation in Calderón
BY MARIA DE LOURDES (“MARUJITA”), President of FUNDAC, Calderon, Ecuador
Welcome to all the wonderful volunteers in our town! Our organization has been in existence for 20 years, 13 of those as a government-recognized non-profit foundation. I’ve been involved with FUNDAC since the beginning. We offer educational, medical, psychological and social services to approximately 100 impoverished children at two daycare center locations. They also work with Senior Citizens, offering social opportunities and support, including lectures on topics of particular value to seniors, and semi-annual day trips. We also offer social and sometimes medical support to the families of the children.
FUNDAC’S funding and other support has come from various sources, including the provincial council, a Belgian corporation that was partnering with the regional council to identify worthwhile projects to support philanthropically, and by Global Volunteers. They also have a variety of other fundraising activities, such as raffles, bingo nights and others that mainly help to augment the existing government-subsidized salaries of $80 per month for their staff members, and cover the complete salary of a key staff member whose position is not subsidized by the government. The government also provides them with food for the children, and monthly menus to ensure that the nutritional needs of the children are met. They actively reach out to local organizations that can help them in their work. For example, they have engaged with “Vista Para To dos”, which is a non-profit organization that offers low-cost vision exams and glasses. As a result, each child at FUNDAC now is given a monthly eye exam.
FUNDAC has made substantial improvements to the first facility (Daycare #1), and are now in the process of constructing a new facility (Daycare #2). Global Volunteers have, in collaboration with their own local volunteers and workers, done the majority of the work to improve the existing facility and construct the new building. The new building will eventually have three floors, but they are already serving children in the completed first floor. After the building is complete, they plan to have all the children in the new daycare center and to use their first daycare center as a permanent Senior Center.
The original daycare center is in a building that is leased to them by the community. Our lease expired this year, and was renewed for another ten years because the government representatives could see the great improvements made to the structure and know that the children served are those from families with a lot of economic need. While it is possible that we could lose their lease in the future, it’s very unlikely given the demonstrable results of our work with the children and improvements to the structure (made possible by Global Volunteers!).
The economic support and willing hands of volunteers that Global Volunteers brings to them is extremely valuable to FUNDAC, and they consider the partnership to be one of mutual collaboration, working hand in hand to help in their community. (The photo shows a CPR class by our beloved volunteers.) They would love to have more Global Volunteers come to help them so that the work can progress more rapidly to allow them to serve more children and adults. They feel that the process and model of the partnership are very good, and that Maricela Miranda is excellent in working with them. Particularly as it relates to the funding they receive through the partnership, Maricela manages the budget extremely well and is strict in reviewing their proposed budgets and clarifying acceptable expenditures.
On Monday, July 9, in a meeting with the government authorities, we pledged to continue the collaboration between Global Volunteers and FUNDAC.
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